Social media can be an incredibly tricky business. While any client based business can get a little dicey, social media is a relatively new field, so things tend to get a little bit rougher than normal. Because there are no guarantees that come along with a social media presence, we usually spend more time defending ourselves than lavishing in the compliments from our clients. As a social media manager, the clients we can’t seem to please often outweighs those we can. It’s not possible to make every client happy at all times, but what happens when you have a client who is NEVER happy?
Social media is a difficult field to be involved in. There are no concrete statistics that dictate what will be successful, and what won’t. As a social media manager, this often means that we’re flying blind, and developing a brand new formula for each and every client we take on. Sure, some things carry over, but what works for one client, won’t necessarily work for another. When we first pitch ourselves to a new client, we have to draw up a strategy that is formulated by market studies, a few well-researched ideas, and a guess or two.
For some clients, our strategy often plays out quite well, and we see the results of said strategy on our end. For us, this means that the client is getting increased exposure, building their businesses credibility, and establishing their place on the internet. What this does not mean is that the client is getting an immediate return on their investment, or seeing twenty new leads as soon as the profile goes live. This is where the disconnect happens between manager and client, and this is also where they become displeased. To them, it seems as though we’re tooting our own horns for no good reason.
Social media managers have to learn to celebrate the small victories. When our ‘likes’ campaign works and we draw serious traffic to a new fan page, we rejoice. If a tweet gets a whole bunch of retweets (RT’s) from new followers, we’re ecstatic. If a connection request to major power player gets through on LinkedIn we want to high five everyone in the room. However, the client doesn’t see these small steps as anything to celebrate, and they question why they’re paying us if we can’t get them leads.
A portion of your clients will go with the flow, and appreciate everything you’re doing for them; some may even recognize if you’re a bargain in comparison to other social media professionals. These clients are a dream to work with; they understand that we’re going for distance, not speed. Then there are the clients we seem to not be able to please; the clients who are never happy with what we’re doing, bombard us with changes to our content, and generally don’t understand the purpose of a social media presence. Want to know what to do about this client? Deal with it.
Dealing with difficult clients is your only option, unless you want to force them to quit and lose the money associated with their account. If they want to make changes to their content that won’t help their business, all you can do is offer helpful suggestions. They’ll have the final say in what goes up on their page, and if they don’t heed your advice, that’s on them. While your sense of professionalism dictates that you’re not okay with this type of client relationship, sometimes it’s out of your hands. The customer is always right, right?
This brings to mind one particular client that I held for years. He was particularly difficult, stodgy, and set in his ways. He didn’t think very highly of women as professionals, and he made that clear, and every three months he forced me to outline every single thing I was doing to earn my fee. I would respond to an email with a detailed description of what I was doing, and he wouldn’t respond. Our relationship continued on this track for years. He disagreed with everything I did, I offered my opinion in return, he wasn’t a fan of my thoughts, and so I did what he told me to do. We parted ways when he got out of the business, and I’ve never been happier.
Some clients are going to be difficult, that’s without question. You, as the social media manager, need to determine what is more important, their happiness or your pride. If their happiness wins out, you’re going to have to swallow all of your negativity and do as they say. Otherwise, you’ll make yourself crazy, trust me.